Maintaining Identity Within Prisons: Resistance and Repercussions Experienced by the Wrongly Imprisoned

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Tam, Katie Ka-Yan




The current study extends the scope of the literature by including the perspectives of individuals who have been wrongly charged and imprisoned, and examining how the wrongly imprisoned negotiate, resist, and maintain their identities within prisons. Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with six participants who self-identify as being wrongly convicted or charged, it was found that identity can be interpreted as a constant negotiation within the prison environment. Through the mechanisms of resistance, the participants were able to exercise resistance and limit the effects of power from opposing sources, thereby maintaining their identity. Although the participants were able to reverse the direction of power, even within prisons – a site of power inequalities and coercion, the benefits of maintaining identity were often accompanied by immediate and future consequences. This research strengthens the need for appropriate avenues to address prisoners who maintain their innocence and their identity within prisons.


Criminology and Penology




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Legal Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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